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Have you ever heard someone tell you that you need to write like your customers talk? I'm betting you have. I have many times, and I also teach this, too.
Why? Because writing like your customers speak and using their word choice could be the difference between your ideal customer making a purchase, or walking away.
And that's a big deal, my friend. So buckle up, because this one's a good one.
On today’s episode of the Rebel Boss Ladies Podcast, we’re talking all about:
- how to write like your customers talk;
- what voice of customer research is;
- why it's the key to meeting your people where they're at in your copy; and
- how you can use it to help strategize your launch.
This may sound like a lot, but the incredible guest that’s joining us today is going to share exactly how you can get started with all of that.
Sara Frandina is a conversion copywriter whose true superpower in life is translating the thoughts and stories of others into meaningful insights that fuel empathy based marketing and communication for her clients.
I can’t wait to share all of this info with you so let’s dive right in!
All About Sara Frandina: Certified Conversion Copywriter
Before we get started let me introduce you to Sara – she’s a conversion copywriter, certified through Copyhackers.
What’s the difference between a conversion copywriter and other kinds of copywriters? Sara focuses specifically on copy that creates connection points and drives actions. Those could be transactional, like getting someone to buy your product. But it also includes driving any kind of intentional action, like getting someone to sign up for your email list.
She started freelancing for tourism businesses back in 2012, and that’s when she realized she could make a full-time business out of it. Six months later, she left her job and started her business, what is now Sara Frandina Strategies. Today, Sara focuses on writing copy for sales, including sales pages and conversion-focused email sequences.
What does it mean to write like your customer talks?
We hear this constantly as digital product creators – write like your customers talk. But obviously that’s a lot easier said than done. So what does it even mean to write like your customers talk?
Sara says that there’s two parts to this.
First, you want to use the language that resonates with your customers – the things you say should create connection points.
Second, you want to learn specifically how your customers talk about your offer, your product, and how it solves the problem that they’re experiencing.
You can guess at this for sure – you have experience and expertise in your field that gives you insight into how your customers think and talk. But the better and more reliable way to go about it is by actually doing some voice of customer (VOC) research.
How can you conduct voice of customer research?
Voice of customer research usually refers to going out and actually talking to your customers. There’s a lot of ways that you can do this – via email surveys and phone interviews are two common ways.
But if you’re not sure who to talk to or how to get started, VOC research also includes things like reading threads and Facebook groups, having conversations in your DMs on Instagram, asking questions in your Instagram stories, or reading chat transcripts.
You can find really good information on what your customers are thinking and how they express themselves in any place where your customers are talking about their problems, asking questions, or talking about how you've helped them. That's going to give you that insight you need to to write like your customers talk.
Using your own knowledge and experience for VOC research
It’s likely that you’re some kind of version, either past or current, of your target customer. If that's the case for you, that's great! You can definitely tap into your own knowledge while developing your product and writing your copy.
Sara says that one of the best pieces of advice that she got from her business coach when she got started was to create the product or service that you needed when you were at the same point as your target customer.
You can be the client zero for your work, but make sure that your biases don’t get in the way when thinking about what your customers need. There is value in considering how you’ve experienced the problem and came up with a solution. But when it comes to voice of customer, it's more about opening up your mind and getting out of your own head so that you can expand the perspectives that you just might be blind to.
Why You Should Use the Voice of Your Customer
Sara says there are three reasons why voice of customer is really important.
#1 You never want to sit down to a blank page when you start writing copy.
When you start to write your copy, you never want to sit down to a blank page because that makes it so much harder to connect to your audience. And if you aren’t using VOC, there’s a good chance that you’re starting from a blank page.
Starting with a pool of choice customer research lets you focus on where you actually need to go while writing your copy.
This is easier than it sounds – I’m sure you’ve already heard stories from your clients on how they talk about their pain points, their problems, their hesitations. This kind of information gives us something to start from and it's always easier when you have that starting point.
#2 Empathy needs to be at the center of digital product launch, creation and marketing.
The second reason you should do VOC research is because empathy should be at the core of all ethical marketing, launching and digital product creation.
Sara says that as product creators, we need to be able to step into our customers’ shoes and learn more about the experiences that they're having. VOC will give us those perspectives and those different experiences, that then help us to speak in the language of our customers.
#3 Voice of Customer lets you understand where your customer is starting from so you can meet them there.
An essential part of launching any digital product or writing launch copy is knowing where your customers are starting from, because that’s exactly where you want to meet them.
When you don’t do VOC research, you might go in a direction with your copy that doesn’t make sense for your customer or hits them at the wrong point in their customer journey.
You should be aiming to meet your customer at a place where you know they have a problem and they’re seeking out solutions.
After doing your research, you may determine that your customer needs more information before being ready for your launch. This means that instead of jumping right into your launch copy, you might want to do a little bit more education, or marketing, or nurturing beforehand.
As a “cold” customer, there’s nothing worse than seeing a Facebook ad selling a product before they’ve done anything to warm you up and get you to the place where you’re ready to learn more about their offer. If you're selling a product that's going to solve a very specific problem, the very first thing you want to make sure that people are understanding they have that problem and that they are ready for solutions.
If you determine in your research that you’re meeting somebody at a place where they know about your product and they're just comparing it to other products, then you can take a different approach with your marketing and copy.
You want your customer to read your emails and feel like you see where they are, you’re thinking what they’re thinking, and they trust you – this is the ultimate copy goal and will lead to higher conversions. Whether you’re using a template, swipe copy, or writing your copy from scratch, you want to make sure you customize and use the language of your customer to connect with them.
Sara says, “I think more and more people are warming up to the idea of research is not just like this waste of time, this uncool, nerdy thing to do. It's more of a tool that's going to help me go a lot farther in getting things started and in getting those conversions in those sales and connecting with people.”
Getting Started with VOC Research
Don’t let the word “research” scare you away from conducting your own VOC research. Sara says that VOC research is actually super approachable and you can get a lot out of it even if you put in the minimum effort.
Where you start usually depends on whether or not you already have an audience.
Where to start with VOC if you don't have an audience:
If you don’t have an audience, the place to start is by identifying people in your community and your ecosystem that you can be talking to. That could be anybody that might be a prospect for your product, whether or not they have subscribed to your email list or bought from you before. It may take some searching, but social media, Reddit threads, or Facebook groups are great places to start.
Try asking questions in these spaces or reach out directly to someone that might be a great fit for the offer and ask if you could have a 20 minute phone chat. Remember – in these conversations you’re not selling anything or promoting your product. You’re just trying to learn about their products. Some great questions to ask are:
- Where they were and what was happening in their life and business when they were experiencing this problem;
- If they've sought out solutions before;
- What have they tried that's worked and what hasn't;
- If they've thought about buying something before, what's been the number one thing that's made them stop?
This doesn’t have to be specific to what you are offering, but you'll still learn a lot about the people that you could potentially be serving in the future.
Where to start with VOC if you do have an audience:
If you have an audience, start reaching out to the people in your community who have been part of your email list or following your social media for a while, as well as the people who have actually bought from you.
Ask them to complete an email questionnaire – even if you only ask two questions you can learn a lot of information and get a pretty high response rate. Some questions you could ask include:
- Think back to when you subscribed to my email list or join my community or bought my product. What was the what was happening in your life or your business that made you say, I need this at this time or I want to learn from this person at this time?
- What are you struggling with as it relates to X?
- If you've considered buying from me before, what's been the number one thing that stopped you? / If you've considered seeking out a solution for that problem, what's the number one thing that stopped you?
- If I could make any product to help you with your problem, what would it be?
Questions like these will give you a lot of insight into your audience and what you hear might surprise you! Sometimes your audience may have hesitations or issues that you haven’t realized, or they may define them differently than you expect.
Make sure to leave these questions open ended – while multiple choice can give you good data in some circumstances, you want to use this as an opportunity to gather info and remove your own biases from the questions that you’re asking. This is a chance for your audience to speak freely and you may learn something that you didn’t expect.
Don’t take their answers personally (especially if you’re asking why they haven’t bought before) but use them to learn and incorporate this information into your marketing.
Finally, don’t be afraid to interpret that data and recognize what fits with you and your brand and reject what doesn’t fit. If someone in your audience suggests that what they need from you is completely outside your realm of expertise, that’s okay – you don’t need to take every suggestion or follow every piece of feedback.
Ways to Use Your VOC Research in Your Marketing and Strategy
So you’ve conducted your VOC research and learned a lot about your audience and potential customers. What do you do next?
The first place you can and should start using this information is thinking about what’s going to work and what’s not going to work in your future launch strategy. After conducting VOC research on your launch you should have a better idea of what worked, what didn’t work, why people bought (or didn’t buy) from you and more. A few key points you can ask about and consider for future launches are:
- The decision process itself – did you give your customers a long enough time? Did they have enough information?
- How did your audience feel about the launch strategy and event? Did the event(s) that you held help or hurt? Did they attend the event?
- What kind of people in your audience are buying (or are interested in buying) your product?
- What questions are people asking about my product? (use this to develop FAQs, content and copy that addresses questions and hesitations)
- What are people saying about my product? (use this for headlines, testimonials, etc.)
There's no perfect launch formula – you need to find a balance between what feels good for you and what resonates with your clients. And that’s exactly what VOC research is going to help you with.
Most importantly, you don’t need to have already launched to be able to ask these questions. You can do VOC research ahead of a launch and just adapt the questions above a little bit, and they can still provide extremely valuable information for you and your launch.
The key here is to write what you learn directly into your sales pitch and your copy so that it’s incorporated into your future (and hopefully more successful) launches.
Voice of Customer Research: a Never Ending Process
Sara wants to emphasize that VOC research should never be a one-and-done thing. It should be ongoing and a strategy that you use to continually improve your business and your launches.
You can incorporate many elements of VOC research at all stages of your launch. Send out a survey now, at the end of a launch, reach out to customers that didn’t buy and those that did a few months after they purchased your product.
It's something that you can do over and over again at different touch points in the customer journey, so don't feel like you need to throw everything into one round of VOC research. It’s going to be something that as long as you are building and growing in your business, you're going to want to be getting in touch with your customers at every single stage. And there's so much opportunity to make that happen.
Learn More about Voice of Customer from Sara
If you want to learn more about voice of customer research, Sara has a really exciting 5-day free email course just for listeners to the Rebel Boss Ladies Podcast. It’ll go through the best questions to start with and inspire you to get out there and start conducting some voice of customer research. Check it out here!
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Don’t forget to tune in next week to episode 060 with Angela Tan – we’re going to chat all about Stress-Free Tech and Automation Setup. And subscribe to the Rebel Boss Ladies Podcast on Itunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts!